Christmas Decorating with Beads

A different take on beads on this upside down tree
No matter that some Christmas wholesale showrooms tell me that beads are out of style.  Beads are never out of style!    One of my childhood memories is going to Grandma's house Christmas afternoon and seeing the ceder tree burdened with the weight of hundreds of strands of glass beads.  Grandma didn't have much decorating skill, so she trimmed her tree with beads,  I don't know if she attached them at the top but somehow those beads were hung straight top to bottom.  There were so many it was difficult to see the tree that carried their weight.

Three strands of  different sizes of
beads hung together  make a nice impact.

Over the last 25 years I have experimented with different ways to use beads.  I refuse to do Christmas without them.  Beads are so versatile and when used in abundance provide a lot of sparkle.
They add a richness that is unparalleled. 

About 5 or 6 years ago I came up with an idea that I think is hard to top.   Instead of using one anemic looking little strand, I like to use four or five of different colors and sizes and knot them like pearls every eight inches or so.  The following video shows how to do it.

This is what knotting 3 sizes of gold and one copper beads look like on the the tree. Belissimo!     I don't know if I spelled it right but I couldn't resist using it.

Other ways to use beads include:   If you have skirted tables, pin them along the top edge of the table.
When your accessories are in place, randomly snake them around your table top. Use them in your Christmas center piece.   Dribble them around the outside edge of your Dining Room Center piece.
I often loop or swag them on the arms of chandeliers and hold them up with bows.  I haven't done this.  The idea just now came to me.  Hot glue small beads around the edge of place mats!  I incorporate them into gift wrap (see Gift wrap in black and   The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

A rare situation when just a  few strands
do the job

Beads give a Bird Cage effect on this
Upside down tree

Another idea I came up with is a take off of the
knotting idea.   Let m show it to you.

Beads cut successively shorter

If you want your "knot  and Swag" bead treatment to be perfect,  you can hang two strings where the treatment is to go.  One sting will go where the top strand will be and the other string will hang where the bottom strand will go.   Measure both strings and cut one strand the length of the long one and one the length of the short one.  Divide the difference in length between long and short
by the number of strands to be between the two.  For example is you plan to use 6 strands total.  There will be 4 strands between long and short.  If the difference between long and short is 8", you will make the second longest 2" shorter than the  longest and so on.   Personally I like to work by site -fast and not so neat.   I don't  like math.

Wire beads together in the center
Find the center of your beads and wire them together.

Next cut 24" lengths (longer if you use really large beads, or you can make the knot first and then cut the beads.   Cut half as many beads as in the ones wired together, but one of each size used.
Find the center of these beads and put a strand of pearls knot in them.  You will have a 6 to 8" loop in the bottom-   a knot  - and beads coming out the top.
 The knotted piece will now have as many strands showing as the side (swag strands).  Florist wire the knot in place.  Florist wire the top beads together.

Attach the knotted piece in the center of the "swag" strands.

You don't want the two sides of the swag beads to get mixed
so it is a good idea to temporarily wire the "swag "beads together
a few inches from the end of the shortest one.

Knotted center is attached while "swag
beads are kept separated.

Greenery is not necessary.   You can attach the center to a picture hook.   The greenery shown is attached to a picture hook and the center is attached to the same hook.

Once the center is attached, take the temporary wire off one side only.

Swag effect takes shape

Wire the ends of the swag beads together one at a time.  Start with the shortest.  Wire it .  Then wire it to the next longest and  so on until the ends of one side are connected.  Pull that side up where you want it and wire it.   Do the same on the other side.
Be sure both sides are hung at the same height.

I f you're like me and don't like to measure now is the time to adjust the lengths of strands to even them up.  Do the same procedure, but hold the swag beads where you want them and wire them one by one making each a little longer than the last.
Visually do the same to the other side making them match .


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Christmas tree in chartreuse and red

Tree ready to be decorated with items

on the floor

I thought I would share this tree with you because it has some interesting effects.

The first time I did this tree I started with a Santa Topper.

I had the curved branches laying in the fore ground.  Not knowing what else to do with them I began putting them evenly around the top of the tree.

When they were all in place the top somewhat resembled a fountain.   Santa began to resemble a scene from an old Esther Williams film.   It looked like Santa was going to dive out of the fountain I had inadvertently created.    Santa was relieved of his

position and I continued onward.

Items planned for tree

Tree topper

With Santa in retirement, I needed something that would look good.   Unfortunately I don't have progressive photos of this one.  I used a 24" wooden dowel, wrapped it with some cheap roping, stapled the roping at each end.   I then worked some over sized beads and lights into the mix. Four 36" lengths of wired ribbon were cut of green and red.   They were wired on to the top of the dowel shaped as you see and wired along with the ends of the beads about 12" from the top of the dowel.  The lights were plugged in and the whole thing wired into the top of the tree.

Considering the size of the tree and what I had to put on it,  I decided I would get more mileage out of the ornaments by using several of them in like arrangements placed evenly on the tree.


Large arrangements added to the tree

Arrangement of  several items

Looking up at the finished top

With the top dealt with, and the arrangements in place; over sized glass red balls were added between the arrangements.

Balance of ornaments added .

Red glass balls added

Looking closely at the picture below, you can see another trimming idea.   I must admit it is not mine.

Three consecutive lengths of wired ribbon are cut and wired together on one end.  The short one is on top and the end is coiled down.   The next longest one just below is coiled down the same way.  The bottom one is also coiled.  This is a good technique to fill the tree, especially if you are a little short of ornaments.  It is also a good way to blend the colors on a tree by representing them in this treatment.

Don't skimp do plenty of them and put them evenly

on the tree.

Close up of completed red and chartreuse tree


I hope you found this useful.  Check our my other 19 or 20 Christmas Decorating blogs at   Please tell your friends.    Mark your calendar!

Holiday Open House     Dec 1 & 2

Bill Gantt

Decorating a Christmas Tree in gold copper and red

Plaster urn looks better than tree skirt

Tree in gold copper and re

In preparation for the gold copper and

red going on this tree, colored lights are

added to the already wired white ones.

Even though they are barely noticeable

when the tree is fully decorated, I think

they add something extra to the final


The tree is anchored in the plaster urn

with dried floral Styrofoam.

Gold glittered astibule spikes, and gold and copper colored poinsettia are placed at the top of the tree and evenly up and down each side.

The center of the tree is decorated with many types of gold decorative balls and simple red and copper colored glass balls.

All of the ornaments of course are hung symmetrically.  I often tell people the secret of a rich look, especially at Christmas; is to use so much that it looks like you can afford to throw it away.

Notice the beads on this tree

Illustrating my "throw away" theory, notice how I have done the beads.  I got this idea a few years back.

I use three or more sizes of beads, in this case 3 gold and 1 copper and knot them like pearls with about 8" between each knot.   Now that is a rich look!


I hope you enjoyed this blog.   Go to to see more.  If you liked it please tell your friends.   Also please leave a comment.  I want to know what you think.

Mark your calendar!  My Holiday Open House is Dec. 1 and 2.   Because I am planning to move to a smaller space next year, I need to reduce inventory.  As a result, EVERYTHING in the shop that weekend will be 1/2 off.

Bill Gantt

Decorating a Christmas tree in Black and Gold,Copper and Red

Black,Gold with copper and red accents

with focus in the center

Having done gift boxes in black,tan and gold, I thought I would decorate a Christmas tree in a similar fashion.  I also thought it would be interesting to do an important arrangement front and center.   I think, perhaps my center arrangement should have been a little smaller.  It seems to have overpowered the tree.

That, however, is part of the creative process.  It is a new idea.  Next year I'll refine it.  If you like the concept I'll show you how I did it and you can make your own improvements.

Tree is mounted in decorative urn

using dried flower Styrofoam 

Inside of tree is filled with gold wired florist balls 


The first step of this tree is a detail that does not photograph

well.   The inside of the tree is filled with gold wired florist balls.  This adds a richness better appreciated in person.

Oversize glass gold finials are hung

Initially I hung the over-sized glass finials down the center of the tree.  Eventually they ended up going down each side.

 Surely you don't think I know exactly what I'm going to do in the beginning.

red and gold wired florist balls, 8" dowels, electric staple

gun and piece of cheap pine roping 

What I did know was that I wanted a significant arrangement in the center of the tree.   I cut the dowels to length, and took apart the cheap roping.   Each dismantled branch gave me 6" pieces of fake pine.   Using the staple gun, I attached the end of the 6" piece to the end of the dowel.  I then wrapped it around the dowel.  When I got to the end I stapled it and stapled the end of the next piece on top of the previous end.  This process was repeated until most of the dowel was covered.

dowels covered in fake pine

Yes they look strange, but wait.  Knowing how to do this could come in handy for a lot of decorating scenarios.    Next wired gold balls are wired to the ends of all the sticks.   The pine covering helps make the balls stay in place.

Gold balls wired to the end of the pine sticks

Copper, gold and red balls are wired down the stem

A mixture of gold, copper and red balls are wired down the stick.

Center decoration in process

A large black and gold bow is made and attached to the center of the tree.  The pine/ball sticks are put in place and attached to the tree.  No ornaments other than the finials are put on the tree.

Pine/ball stick is added to black and gold bow at

the top of the tree

After the center is done a leftover pine/ball stick is used above the bow on top of tree.

So love it or not, there it is!

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Bill Gantt